Framing your posters and photographs
Whether you choose to let a custom framer handle your poster or photograph or decide to do the job yourself, the choices and decisions are myriad – from design considerations to the different types of mat, frames and glass - to the ways you mount the picture in the frame.
Despite the seemingly endless choices, the overall purposes of framing are essentially the same: to enhance the image, focus attention on it, protect it and give it a proper, professional presentation.
Fortunately there are guidelines and tips that can help you through the maze. For example, did you know that choosing a wider than average mat (the border around the framed poster or photo) can not only change the way a person views the poster, it can also invite them to view it in the first place?
Why frame your poster or photograph?
The frame, mount and mat are a picture’s “home,” meaning somewhere that it belongs. There are three reasons why we want our pictures to have a home. Two are practical and one is based on esthetics.
Support - at its simplest, framing acts as a support system for optimum viewing of a picture. It keeps the image flat and permits it to be easily placed upright on a wall or other support at a suitable viewing height.
Protection - quality photographs and posters need to be protected from dirt, grime and other environmental factors such as light, moisture and contact with poor-quality paper products that have high-acid content. No matter how careful you are, every time you handle the printed surface with direct touch, you risk transferring harmful materials. The natural acids in your hands can act to break down the surface of the photograph.
Artistic - the third consideration is the artistic and esthetic value proper framing can add to your poster or photograph. Framing should: firstly, celebrate and enhance your picture, even glorify it; secondly, it should set the boundaries so that the image doesn’t overwhelm its environment, or conversely, so the environment doesn't impose on the picture; and finally, act as a transition between the wall and the image. Framing can also draw the eye to the picture, emphasizing the more subtle elements and colors, and even increasing the apparent size of the image.
Before exploring your framing options, here are some definitions of the basic components of picture framing:
What are my framing options?
You can frame your picture yourself using a ready-made frame of appropriate size. You can make a frame yourself or have someone custom frame your picture for you.
The more expensive approach to framing is to take your poster or photograph to a professional framer, usually located in a retail outlet, often as an adjunct to an art gallery. Some home businesses and hobbyists also specialize in framing. Despite the cost, the professional framer option has some distinct advantages:
As with all businesses, the pricing, quality and style of framing vary from framer to framer.
Framing your own picture can save you anywhere between 10 to 30 percent, depending on how far you decide to solo it in the framing process.
DIY framing stores, usually found in large urban centers, provide the do-it-yourself framer with a large selection of materials to work with. The best of these establishments provides design expertise and can even help with cutting the glass and moldings. Some frame-it-yourself shops provide advice and all the cut materials, then send you home to assemble the final product.
Ready-made frames are also available from a variety of stores. They are generally simple frames in popular colors, textures and sizes. Many ready-made frames come complete with backing materials and glass. At it simplest, all you do is remove the backing, clean the glass, insert the poster and replace the backing. Your local department store, all-purpose drug store or even a dollar store, may be the least-expensive source for a frame and mat to simply house your poster.
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